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Dolphins at the National Skateboarding Championship

CHANDIGARH: For the first time, four rural skateboarders from the Desert Dolphin Skate Club, Rajasthan participated in 58th National Roller Skate Championship 2020-21 organized by Roller Skating Federation of India (RSFI) in Mohali, Punjab on 10th April, 2021.

Hailing from Khempur, a remote village in Rajasthan, 10-year-old Bhura Lal Bhil, 11-year-old Shaitan Banjara, 13-year-old Jogender Rajput and 14-year-old Pavan Bhil represented the club and the state at the national championship. Not only did they qualify in the trials, they skateboarded all the way to the final round. The competition had skateboarders from across India including states like Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, New Delhi and Maharashtra competing in various categories.

Skateboarding was first introduced to these kids 3 years ago when one of India’s largest and Rajasthan’s first-ever skatepark, Desert Dolphin Skatepark was built in their village of Khempur, 50kms away from Udaipur. The 14,000sqft skatepark runs as a free community space for hundreds of kids residing in and around the village. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to be a part of this community without any biases.

These kids have been skating for less than two years and are now amongst some of the best skaters in the country. Coming from a humble background, most of these kids have to work in the fields for hours helping their family make ends meet. However, skateboarding has now become a huge part of their daily routine.

Anish ‘Kevin’ Christopher, founder of WeSkate Co., has been coaching the kids right from the beginning. Under his guidance, these kids and several others like them from in and around the village are now on their journey to become some of the best skaters the country has ever seen. These kids turn up to the skatepark every day and skate for hours without fail.

This was the first time these kids, fondly called as dolphins, had stepped outside their village. For them, every encounter was a new experience, whether it was traveling in trains, using elevators and escalators or merely seeing tall buildings. It was an unforgettable experience for them to interact with skateboarders from other states. They were awestruck watching so many skaters in one place. It was wonderful to see them share their skills and learn so many tricks in such a short span of time.” Anish (Kevin) Christopher, Skate Coach, WeSkate Co.

These four dolphins and many of the skaters and community of Khempur also feature in the soon to be released Netflix original film, SKATER GIRL. “We’re thrilled to see the result and impact of building a skatepark in this community and we are committed to continue workshops and programs to further develop skateboarding and good citizenship.” Vinati Makijany, Co-Founder, Desert Dolphin Skatepark.

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